Hikes in Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Discover the beauty of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest on foot—along one of the many trails within the area’s extensive network of hiking routes. Encompassing over 2,210,485 acres of combined forestlands, 10,103.4 km of rivers and streams, and five wilderness areas: Castle Crags, Chanchelulla, Mount Shasta, Trinity Alps, and Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel, the outdoor opportunities are abundant. Full of wonderment, a trip to the largest National Forest in California is a staple, attracting thousands of annual adventurers from around the globe.
A landscape characterized by the sky-scraping crests of the Klamath Mountains and the Cascade Range, rolling foothills, subalpine forests, montane meadows, and numerous alpine lakes, the combined National Forest boasts epic hiking possibilities. This wonderful natural sanctuary is relatively undiscovered in Northern California compared to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the tranquility as you explore the landscape ranging from 305 m to over 4,298 m of elevation, exhibiting the diversity of the area’s native flora and fauna.
Offering family-friendly nature walks and technical summit treks, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest caters to almost all adventurers. Intrepid spirits flock to the trophy and namesake of one of the wilderness areas—Mount Shasta, a potentially active volcano that stands at 4,627 m, boasting a challenging backpacking expedition. Families and novice hikers can also enjoy the grandeur of the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range from the Lake Siskiyou Trail or one of the several other subalpine trails. Boasting a trek for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels, ages, and preferences, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is a hiker’s haven awaiting your exploration.
The 12 Greatest Hiking Routes in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
The topographic diversity and beauty of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is unparalleled. Whether you are seeking an easy-going adventure to a waterfall or a technical ascent to the summit of a Trinity Alp, this wilderness area delivers. As self-proclaimed adventure experts, we took it upon ourselves to curate a list of the 12 best hiking routes in the combined National Forest; enjoy!
- Burney Falls Loop - The Burney Falls Loop is a family-friendly adventure to a picturesque waterfall flowing over 39 m from the snowmelt of encompassing mountains and through underground springs of porous volcanic rocks. This easy-going hike is a must-add to your itinerary.
- Lake Siskiyou Trail - Indulge in the commanding views of Mount Shasta dominating the skyline along the Lake Siskiyou Trail. This charming lakeside adventure can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages.
- McCloud Falls Trail - There is nothing better than a waterfall hike, and the McCloud Falls Trail exceeds all expectations—offering a collection of three picturesque cascades. In the summer months, hikers can cool off in the slow-moving pool along the McCloud River.
- Heart Lake Trail - Explore the high country and marvel in panoramic views of the Klamath Mountains along the Heart Lake Trail. This wonderful adventure climbs up the granite cliffs of Castle Lake before reaching the small, heart-shaped alpine pool.
- Potem Falls Trail - The Potem Falls Trail is a short but scenic trek to a charming cascade in the National Forest. Offering a wonderful swimming hole, intrepid adventurers can swing into the refreshing waters via a rope swing. This hike beckons adventurers seeking an escape from the Californian summer heat.
- Hedge Creek Falls Trail - Another waterfall adventure? Of course! The Hedge Creek Falls Trail is a unique excursion that travels to a charming veil that surges over an overhang. Explore the cave behind the cascades then hike down to the Sacramento River and indulge in views of Mount Shasta.
- Lake Helen Hike - The Lake Helen Hike is a demanding adventure up the southwestern slope of the famous Mount Shasta. Intrepid adventurers can climb halfway up the potentially active volcano to an often bare glacial lake and high camp.
- Pluto’s Cave Trail - Explore a lava tunnel along the skirts of Mount Shasta along Pluto’s Cave Trail. This epic expedition into the cavern is sure to impress with its 15 m tall ceilings and skylights that illuminate the cave.
- Landers Lake Loop - Put your endurance to the test and indulge in the topographic diversity of the area along the Landers Lake Loop. This awesome adventure culminates at a crystalline alpine bounded by the Trinity Alps—boasting a postcard-perfect scene.
- Mount Eddy via Deadfall Lakes Trail - Immerse yourself in the alpine terrain along Mount Eddy via Deadfall Lakes Trail. Explore alpine pools before summiting Mount Eddy, which offers panoramic vistas of the Klamath Mountains and commanding views of Mount Shasta.
- Black Butte Trail - Reserved for experienced hikers, the Black Butte Trail is a demanding adventure that reveals wonderful panoramas of Mount Shasta from the summit. Note the terrain is incredibly rocky, so wear a pair of ankle bracing footwear—you'll thank us later.
- Kangaroo Lake Trail - With a name like that, how could it not be fun? The Kangaroo Lake Trail is a fun family hike along the shoreline of a crystalline lake hemmed by craggy granite bluffs. In the summer months, this is a great place to cool off!
When is the Best Time to Visit the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
The beauty of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is that it can be explored year-round. Though open and accessible to adventurers all year, we argue the best time to visit the National Forest is from May through September. The summer months are the warmest and driest, boasting wonderful outdoor opportunities, from hiking and biking to abundant water recreation activities. When exploring the high country in the winter months, it is important to be aware of the possibility of avalanches and winter storms—which have proven extremely dangerous. No matter the season, be sure to check the forecast before exploring!
Other Outdoor Activities in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is awaiting your exploration. Offering an abundance of hiking routes through the five wilderness areas and two National Forests, this area is undoubtedly a hiker’s haven. Explore the diverse topography on foot for the most immersive experience! Adorned with numerous streams, rivers, and alpine lakes, the National Forest offers wonderful water recreation opportunities. Fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating, tubing, and water skiing are all popular activities in the summer months.
In addition to hiking and water recreation, the wilderness area is a popular camping and nature viewing destination. Visitors don’t even have to leave the comforts of their cars—though we encourage you to do so— as there are nationally designated scenic byways within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest! When exploring in the winter months, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities are plentiful. Though the outdoor pursuits are abundant, the unrivaled scenery and grandeur of the combined National Forest are reason enough to visit.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Shasta-Trinity National Forests
Is Shasta Lake in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
Yes, Shasta Lake, which is the largest man-made lake in California, is located within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Are there redwoods in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
No, there are no redwoods in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Redwoods are common to the coastal region of Northern California, specifically in the Redwoods National and State Parks.
Can you camp in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
Yes, there are dispersed backcountry camping and designated camping opportunities in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
What state is the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in?
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is located in Northern California.
Is Mount Shasta active?
Mount Shasta is a potentially active volcano in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Awesome Adventure Tours near the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Unfortunately, we have yet to curate a specific adventure tour for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Keep checking back as we are always adding to our repertoire. Until then, we encourage you to check our California adventure tours. If you have a trip in mind, don’t hesitate to contact us! We can customize an adventure for you—giving you exactly what you want.
Find Other Amazing Hiking Regions in California
Best Hikes in Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Burney Falls Loop
The Burney Falls Loop is a great adventure for hikers of all skill levels and abilities. Explore the famous waterfalls that surge over 39 m from the snowmelt of encompassing mountains and through underground springs of porous volcanic rocks. Boasting a postcard-worthy scene, this route is a must-add to your adventure itinerary.
Lake Siskiyou Trail
Indulge yourself with beautiful lakeside views along the Lake Siskiyou Trail. Located at the foot of the Trinity Divide, the shimmering reservoir boasts accessible views of Mount Shasta and Mount Eddy and the verdant hills of Cascade Range. Offering an abundance of outdoor pursuits to enjoy year-round, Lake Siskiyou is an epic adventure destination well worth a detour.
McCloud Falls Trail
The McCloud Falls Trail offers a collection of three cascades in one quick nature walk. Indulge yourself in the postcard perfect scenes of the cascades plunging through the basalt lava rock canyon. This epic expedition beckons the exploration year-round, enjoy!
Heart Lake Trail
The Heart Lake Trail is a picturesque adventure in the Shasta National Forest that intermediate hikers and families with older children can enjoy, year-round. Explore a glacial cirque, climbing up to the charming lake that offers commanding vistas of Mount Shasta and the Klamath Mountains.
Castle Lake Trail
The Castle Lake Trail is a picturesque adventure in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This revered route travels along the shoreline of the glacial basin up to an exposed divide that boasts uninterrupted vistas of Mount Shasta and the Klamath Mountains. Beckoning intrepid spirits year-round, this trek is a must-add to your hiking itinerary.
Potem Falls Trail
Potem Falls is a hidden gem in the Greater Redding Area that affords anyone a good time. Discover the beautiful oasis by way of the Potem Falls Trail and hop into the crystalline pool at the base of the sheer-21 m waterfall. This hike beckons adventurers in the Californian summer heat.
Hedge Creek Falls Trail
The Hedge Creek Falls Trail boasts wonderful scenery and intriguing geological features. Flowing 11 m from Hedge Creek over the basaltic overhang into the rocky ravine, the cave behind the veil beckons exploration. Hikers of all skill levels and ages will enjoy this short but scenic adventure.
Lake Helen Hike
The hike up to Lake Helen is a classic adventure in the Shasta-Trinity National Forests that beckons intrepid adventures year-round. Located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Shasta, the second-highest volcano in the Cascade Range, this hike is well revered. Hike up Avalanche Gulch to the glacial lake and high camp which offer epic views of the majestic landscape.
Pluto’s Cave Trail
Beckoning explorers from all over the state, Pluto’s Cave Trail boasts a unique experience in the Klamath National Forest. Located on the outskirts of Mount Shasta, hikers can explore the lava tubes that were carved nearly 200,000 years ago by lava flow. Adventurers of all ages will be captivated by the complexity of the partially collapsed cavern.
Landers Lake Loop
Beckoning intrepid spirits and experienced hikers, the Landers Lake Loop is awaiting your exploration. Wander along beautiful babbling creeks through mixed woodlands, alpine meadows, and granite gardens up to the crystalline lake bounded by the craggy cliffs of Red Rock Mountain. Exhibiting the diversity of flora and fauna, this adventure is well worth adding to your hiking itinerary.
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